A FATHER has paid tribute to his son who he found dead after overdosing on a lethal cocktail of drugs.

Jamie Hammond was found unresponsive at his home in Holmeswood Road, Great Lever, on January 19.

The 38-year-old spent the previous evening watching television with his dad, Kenneth, before taking his dog for a walk shortly after 11pm.

By the time his son returned home an hour later, Mr Hammond Snr had fallen asleep. He woke the next morning to find his son slumped in a chair.

Paramedics arrived at the scene shortly after and pronounced him dead.

Paying tribute to his son, Mr Hammond Snr described him as “a private man” who had been a keen tennis player. He added: “He was a nice, quiet lad. He was a bit of a lost soul, though.

"We were close. His mother passed away a couple of years ago, so I was the only person he had.”

At the inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court on Friday, pathologist Patrick Waugh recorded Mr Hammond’s cause of death as “combined drug toxicity”, and said a mix of prescription and illegal drugs, including heroin, was found in his system.

Mr Hammond had been prescribed a range of medication after being diagnosed with anxiety, depression and emotional unstable personality disorder.

The inquest heard he had suffered with mental health problems and drug addiction for several years, and tried to take his own life by overdosing on heroin just six weeks prior to his death.

Mr Hammond, who worked as a carer, also told his GP he had tried to self-harm by putting anti-freeze in his food.

Following the overdose attempt, he was referred to Bolton’s home-based treatment service, and initially told mental health workers he had “nothing to live for”. He also disclosed that he was planning another overdose in the near future.

To support his son, Mr Hammond Snr moved in with him at his home and the pair had hoped to make the arrangement permanent, but experiencing difficulties in doing so.

Mr Hammond’s psychiatrist Andras Jukasz told the hearing that in the weeks that followed, Mr Hammond stopped having suicidal thoughts and appeared positive about the future. He was discharged from the service on January 14.

However, Mr Hammond Snr told the hearing that he felt his son’s death could have been prevented if he had been sectioned.

Mr Jukasz said Mr Hammond had not met the criteria for sectioning, and a report carried out by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust found mental health services played no “contributory factor” in his death.

Recording a verdict of a “drug-related death”, coroner Rachel Syed said: “While Jamie’s father was unaware, it is clear he struggled with illicit drug use and chronic alcoholism. Jamie also suffered with housing problems, which in turn exacerbated his mental health problems.

“I have heard no evidence that Jamie was suicidal in the lead up to his death. There was no indication he wanted to overdose on illicit or prescribed medication.

Issuing a warning, Ms Syed added: “This is a stark reminder of the very clear dangers of taking illicit and prescribed drugs.”